Ah yes, the rush of being able to walk into a toasty warm restaurant and not have to wear a jacket – bliss.
The days since May 17 and the latest loosening of restrictions and even more ‘freedom’ have been simply amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, as soon as we were able to head to the pub to meet friends outdoors I was straight there, ordering on the app (because I’m modern and all) awaiting the arrival of my next cocktail at the table and my eyes peeled to take the first sip, but I was cold.
I do hate those people that moan all night about being cold while wearing an outfit not dissimilar to Eddie the Eagle’s skiing outfit, whilst I am sat there in a mini dress and sandals – there’s always those two types of friends – but nonetheless I was ready to not have to worry about the weather impacting my night.
And for my very first meal in a restaurant in around six months, I wanted to try one of Hull’s most talked about restaurants – The Crooked Skewer.
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During Eat Out To Help Out the street food spot has queues going all the way down the street, as well as receiving reviews of being ‘outstanding’, ‘amazing’, and ‘wow’ reviews on TripAdvisor.
So I was ready to see what all the fuss was about.
Heading into the restaurant
Based on Princes Avenue, the restaurant is in a great spot for the perfect night out; you can go out for dinner whilst being close to other bars if you wanted to venture out after.
Customers have a choice to be able to sit in or outdoors, upstairs or downstairs in the restaurant.
As I walked in I was immediately greeted by smiling staff, and I loved the decor of the place.
All the tables are nicely spaced apart and the seats are benches offering a casual feel.
It is beautifully decorated, and even has an airport style clock display of different times around the world.
The tables have a unique design, with a wooden stand above the table to hold wine classes.
Owner Amniul said: “We got these wine glass stands in so people can feel relaxed while eating their food.
“You see if you go to a restaurant, usually there are too many glasses on the table, and knife and folks obstructing your ability to have space.
“We wanted to make sure our customers are comfortable, so we came up with this design, and also put the cutlery in a gold box at the side. This is also more hygienic; stopping people from continuously touching the cutlery.”
I was immediately offered a glass of champagne, and directed to my table.
I was instantly impressed with the service and staff.
What I liked about the feel of the place is the quirky decor allows a mixture of people to be welcomed. It is one of those places you can pop in for a meal after work, stop for a quick bit if out and about, or head in for a night of getting dressed up and celebrating – it is perfect for all.
The deal on food was that you pay just £12 and get an all you can eat style meal. If you want anymore you can simply ask and they will top you up.
And I thought okay, £12 means small dishes, I likely won’t be full, and I will definitely be asking for more etc. I thought it’s just too good to be true.
After having a sip of the delicious champagne, I was also asked if I would like any other drinks and there was so much choice.
From a range of cocktails, spirits, beers, and speciality drinks, there is a lot to choose from.
But I thought I would dive into the food before choosing another drink.
I was brought some different shaped poppadoms and crackers to try as an initial appetiser. It was nice to have something to snack on as soon as I sat down; let’s be honest it can often be a pain when you go out for food super hungry, and you have to wait an hour till you can eat something.
So the style of the restaurant worked for me from the start; I think it is more fulfilling to savour each course than for it to all come at once.
Then a few moments later I was presented with a range of homemade salad items, including feta on a bed of lettuce, rocket, and red onion complimented nicely with some salad dressing, as well as three types of homemade coleslaw.
My personal favourite was the red onion coleslaw which went perfectly with the crackers. I put a bit of the salad plate inside the cracker and the combination was perfect.
Alongside this, I was brought a cone with all kinds of Indian-spiced nuts. .
It was a great way to start off, and all the things I tried were a little bit different.
Next up was a very unexpected treat – a Mango Lassi.
I have been to many Indian restaurants before so was I was surprise to have never tried a Lassi.
For the newbies like myself, it is a mango and yogurt milkshake intent to cleanse the palette.
It was deliciously smooth. I was a little cheeky and tried to ask for the recipe, but of course the staff couldn’t tell me how they make the magical drink.
I would return to just order it again. Would ordering five be too much?
As I gussled the mango smoothie in about 30 seconds, the staff kindly gave me a small break before bringing the next course. They were excellent at timing when each course should be brought.
And I was looking forward to the next dish, the main event. The famous kebabs.
Whenever I have heard anyone speak about The Crooked Skewer in the past, the praise for the skewers has been astounding.
The skewers were brought on a cylindrical frame with each skewer hanging out of the top on a stick.
The waiter served one piece of each flavour onto my plate and explained which each one was.
The kebabs on the menu are Eygptian Chicken, Romanian Keftale, Greek Style Lamb, and Brazilian Churrasco Beef.
Before my first bite of the succulent kebabs, I assumed the Brazilian beef will definitely be my favourite, without a doubt.
But surprisingly the Romanian Keftale was my favourite. It is minced chicken with fresh dill, black pepper, and Romanian spices.
It was at the point I realised the brilliance of what owner Aminul and his team do. They allow customers to try different bits of the menu to work out what they like and don’t like.
Let’s be real, a lot of people go to a restaurant and are afraid to try new things and choose something that is safe.
But at The Crooked Skewer you can try things out of your comfort zone in small bites, so you can move on to something else if it isn’t your thing.
All the meats were tender and beautifully complimented with herbs and spices.
The courses continue
It was starting to get to the point in the night where I was fully indulged in the food and my belt was getting a little tighter.
At this point I thought perhaps there would be a dessert and then that would be it.
Oh no, the chefs were just getting started.
Next I was brought two palate cleaners – some fruit including melon, pair, and strawberries, and the second was lemon sorbet – my favourite.
The presentation of these were impeccable. Both dishes the food was brought in involved using a dry ice technique so they looked like they were smoking.
I was particularly fascinated by the lemon sorbet dish which looked like it was a magical lamp. The whole atmosphere was truly magical.
I really appreciated the attention to detail. Remembering that this whole menu isn’t A La Carte, it is street food, and at a price point of just £12, the quality and commitment to the dishes is unbelievable.
Feel like I’m about to burst out of my outfit, and type ‘go to gym tomorrow’ in my phone reminders to work off this beautiful feast, the next course made me laugh – there was so much I didn’t know where to begin.
Although I was feeling rather full and overwhelmed by the next course, it turned out to be my favourite course.
There were small pots of different flavoured curries with different combinations of flavours, sauces, and meats.
What’s more, these were accompanied with a range of different flavoured breads.
As a lover of curry, I knew I’d enjoy each one and all it had to offer, but a surprising love from the dishes was the fish curry.
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Fish curry is something I would never order on a menu. The white fish was so soft it fell apart and tasted so fresh.
It was combined with rich Indian flavours and was simply stunning.
This course made me push my taste buds out of my comfort zone and find dishes which I would never usually choose on a menu, become my new favourites.
The service and verdict
I cannot fault the service at all. I felt like a princess being catered to.
They staff were constantly smiling and although I was already excited to be there, completely lifted my spirits.
The staff were beyond polite, and could not do enough for me. They treat each customer like royalty, not just making sure they have everything they need on the table, but get to know each individual who comes into the restaurant.
I couldn’t believe the beautiful presentation of some of the dishes considering the price. I have been to some ‘5-star’ restaurants where the presentation and service doesn’t come close.
There is a real family feel to The Crooked Skewer and you can literally taste the passion oozing through each dish.
What’s more I complemented one of the glassware items on the bar, the next thing my drink came in that glass. It is a restaurant that want you to feel amazing, whilst eating well.
It just goes to show you can taste wonderful food in a calm and relaxed setting, feel completely treated, whilst spending an affordable amount.